A big number of estate agencies, law firms and other go-betweens have sprung up in Greece to respond to demand from the thousands of non-European Union citizens interested in investing in the country to get a Golden Visa. In cooperation with Chinese travel agencies and local property owners, some of these businesses have been pocketing hefty commissions from unsuspecting buyers.
In the wake of allegations against businessman Evangelos Papaevangelou, who is said to have illegally used Greek bank card terminals in China to receive payments for properties through his firm in Greece – Greek authorities are now planning to probe the real estate market for crime rings that inflate property prices.
Authorities including the Independent Authority for Public Revenue want to identify fraudsters who demand excessive commissions or aid in the illegal transfer of capital from China (mainly gained through illegal activities such as tax evasion or bribery), sidestepping restrictions in the Asian country.
Property market officials tell Kathimerini newspaper that such rings promise Greek sellers a high price and demand a commission. Therefore a property worth 120,000-130,000 euros can be sold for 250,000 – the threshold for a Golden Visa residence permit – with sellers getting 180,000-200,000 and the rings pocketing the rest.